EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR
NYF’s powerhouse Grand Jury represents the most diverse brain trust of prominent advertising creatives from 50 countries around the globe. This esteemed peer-nominated panel provides a 360-degree creative view of the advertising world today.
The 2018 Grand Jury is comprised of Chief Creative Officers, Executive Creative Directors, Creative Directors, Art Directors, Copywriters, Executive Producers and Marketing/PR pro’s all playing a pivotal role in selecting the World’s Best Advertising® winners.
Grand Jury member, Sergio Spaccavento brings a wide variety of creative expertise to the 2018 jury. He is currently the executive creative director at Conversion in Milan, an art director, a copywriter, a scriptwriter, a TV and radio show writer, an advertising teacher and definitely a mythomaniac.
Sergio started his career doing proper advertising, and then fell in love with new and alternative media—and found out that fun is mixing it all together. Throughout his career he’s for small, medium and big agencies on small, medium and big accounts.
He has been a juror for several local and international awards like Cannes Lions, New York Festivals, Epica, Art Directors Club Italy, Mobius, White Square, Red Apple, Chipshop Award and much more.
New York Festivals: Why judge… and how do you find the time?
Sergio Spaccavento: Judging comes from the understanding and in-depth knowledge of a job, so I consider it a moment of my personal education in all respects. I find the time within my personal work progress, as I consider it an integral part of my professional update.
New York Festivals: What do you expect to learn this year from judging and what do you hope to bring back to your creative team?
Sergio Spaccavento: Trends, strategies and creativities: all is becoming faster and faster. Considering the speed, a year is a whole lot of time. Hopefully, a whole lot of new inputs too: all welcomed.
New York Festivals: What cultural/social changes do you think will influence this year’s work?
Sergio Spaccavento: As witnessed by my own reality, I strongly believe that we are entering the “Conversion” age of advertising. So, my guess is that whatever it will be, it will start from consumers themselves.
New York Festivals: If you were to participate on the Grand Jury ten or fifteen years from now, what changes would you expect to see regarding the work?
Sergio Spaccavento: Would asking for the moon be too much? Because I wouldn’t settle for anything less.
New York Festivals: What are your personal criteria for choosing award-winning work?
Sergio Spaccavento: No fixed criteria: I just listen a voice from inside. It gets triggered every time by different things, so it’s hard to answer. But I can tell you what surely will shut that voice down: a blurred concept. At these levels, by the way, it's highly unlikely to find anything like that.
New York Festivals: When judging, what trends do you hope will fade away, and what “old school” trends do you hope will make a resurgence?
Sergio Spaccavento: I’m sorry to disappoint you again, but I’m hardly a nostalgic one. My only concern about new trends is to anticipates them, possibly by a wide margin. But if you’re asking me what I miss the most from the good old days, well: I liked when creativity was running a little wilder. So, perhaps some more bravery would be appreciated.
New York Festivals: What was the hardest ad you ever had to create and why?
Sergio Spaccavento: To write for motion picture industry. The transition from short advertising movies to big real stories it’s never easy: they have to be interesting, of course, but at the same time they have to leave some kind of message to a paying audience, who’s just looking for fun. There are lot of adjustments to do in order to succeed at it.
New York Festivals: In 3 words or less, what do you think about 6 second commercials?
Sergio Spaccavento: Whatever. It. Works.
New York Festivals: What was the first ad you saw that made you say “wow!” and got you on the track to a career in advertising?
Sergio Spaccavento: Models, supercars and wild parties! Unfortunately, as soon as I realized that the nineties were over (way too soon in my honest opinion), I was already fell in love with the job...
New York Festivals: What are your thoughts about clients/brands are creating in-house departments to create their advertising, how will/does this affect the industry regarding creativity in communications?
Sergio Spaccavento: It’s definitely not a new trend. I can easily see why they do it, I’m not sure about if they fit the purpose or not. I guess some in-house departments does it, while others don’t. Anyway, I trust in the stamina of creativity, so I don’t think it will be affected that much by anything or anyone.
New York Festivals: Has the relationship between agency and client changed at all and if so how?
Sergio Spaccavento: If you think about it, there’s nothing dynamic as communicate: everything involved with it changes. For instance, no one asked for multichannel approaches until… well, now. At the same time, requests may have been changed, but partnerships rely on the same old pillars: respect, trust, mutual empowerment. No durable relationship is built without that kind of things.
New York Festivals: What philosophy drives your career?
Sergio Spaccavento: Everything, everywhere, anytime: granted it’s the right stuff, in its right place, at the right moment. That’s what ‘omnichannel’ exactly means.
New York Festivals: What’s the single best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Sergio Spaccavento: Always talk to the people, never to yourself. Well, no one actually told me, but it would have been useful to hear.
New York Festivals: What is your all-time favorite ad? Or What are your top 5 favorite ads from the last 60 years?
Sergio Spaccavento: Here you are: http://adage.com/lp/top15/#dumbways. That’s top notch.
New York Festivals: Who gave you your big break in advertising?
Sergio Spaccavento: Me, myself and I. I let you choose if it’s good or bad, but I had to struggle and fight for every single achievement.
New York Festivals: Did/do you have a mentor and what have you learned from them?
Sergio Spaccavento: See above.
New York Festivals: Where do you see ads showing up in the future that we don’t have now?
Sergio Spaccavento: Maybe pornography? But hey, to be clear: this is not a prediction, I’m just rooting for it.
New York Festivals: If you could work in advertising alongside any one person past or present, who would it be?
Sergio Spaccavento: Albert Einstein. You couldn't find any madman just as interesting.
New York Festivals: How do you tap into creativity? What do you personally do to fan the creative flames?
Sergio Spaccavento: Creativity was high prized in my old circle of friends. We did it just for fun: try to imagine how happy I was when someone told me I could get paid for it! For fueling my motor, I stay hungry until launch-time and I stay foolish until bedtime. Then rinse and repeat the other way around.
New York Festivals: What’s the one smartphone app you couldn’t live without?
Sergio Spaccavento: Formerly Angry Birds. Surviving that one, I became addiction-immune.
New York Festivals: If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Sergio Spaccavento: In the present tense.
New York Festivals: Who’s a creative icon that inspires you?
Sergio Spaccavento: David Bowie. I warn you: I will not accept any argumentation questioning his creative role.
New York Festivals: Favorite music album of all time?
Sergio Spaccavento: Radiohead, OK computer. Maybe not creative as Bowie, but that was a hell of an album!
New York Festivals:
Sergio Spaccavento: Again: the present tense.
New York Festivals: What is your mantra for life?
Sergio Spaccavento: I would like to say “Hakuna Matata”, but it would be a miserable lie.
So, maybe: “Party on Wayne!”
New York Festivals: What movie or book best depicts the theme of your life?
Sergio Spaccavento: Definitely Dumb and Dumber.
New York Festivals: If you’re binge watching…what are you watching?
Sergio Spaccavento: Obviously, BIRDS!